NEW MS drug treatment Ocrevus approved from FDA

This information is from: NBC NEWS http://www.nbcnews.com

The Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug to treat multiple sclerosis Tuesday, March 28,2017

The drug, called Ocrevus, is approved for use against the most common form of MS – the relapsing-remitting type. It’s also the first drug specifically approved for primary progressive MS, a very aggressive form of the disease that affects 10 to 15 percent of MS patients.

There are no approved treatments now for primary progressive MS, which causes steadily worsening symptoms.

YOU CAN ALSO GO TO: MS News Update: FDA Approves First Drug to Treat Two Forms of MS – Please see MSAA’s online news article for more information. CLICK: mymsaa.org/news/fda-approves-ocrevus

While it’s not a cure, it’s one more weapon to use to help some of the 400,000 people with MS. In trials of 1,600 volunteers, it cut relapses in patients with the most common form of MS by nearly half compared with an older drug called Rebif.

Ocrevus, known generically as ocrelizumab, is a monoclonal antibody – an engineered immune system molecule. It won breakthrough designation from the FDA, which helped speed it through the approval process. Roche, which makes the drug, expects sales to top $4 billion a year.

It will be on the market within two weeks, and will cost $65,000 a year, the company said. That’s similar to the cost of Rebif, a 14-year-old drug now widely used to treat MS, although costs vary widely on all MS drugs.

Genentech says it deliberately set the price 20 percent below the current market average for an MS treatment. “The continually escalating prices of MS disease-modifying therapies are creating barriers to people with MS getting these life-changing medications,” the National MS Society said in a statement.

“Given every six months by IV infusion, Ocrevus represents a scientific advancement as a first-in-class therapy targeting B cells, a type of immune cell that plays a central role in the disease,” Genentech, a subsidiary of drug giant Roche, said in a statement.

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